On Tuesday, November 15, the High Court halted the vetting of Principal Secretary nominees whose names were forwarded to Parliament by President William Ruto.
The ruling came after a petitioned was filed by a little-known surgeon from Nakuru, Dr Benjamin Magare Gikenyi, in conjunction with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
In an interview with Kenyans.co.ke, Gikenyi noted that his latest conquest was roughly the 20th suit since he began practicing law in 2017 concurrently with his medical career.
“I have not studied law. When I did my Masters [in Medicine (Gen. Surgery)], I learnt some legal stuff. My brother is also a lawyer and I am self-taught. I believe that as a society we must have a good rule of law. That is what inspires me the most,” stated Gikenyi.
Dr Benjamin Magare Gikenyi who petitioned against PSs vetting.
File His interest in law was pricked while he was pursuing a Masters in Medicine at Moi University when a fellow American Doctor reported him leading to his suspension.
The differences between the two stemmed from an earlier argument over the US politics in which former President Donald Trump competed with Hillary Clinton for top office.
“I had an issue with an American Doctor when discussing American politics. The doctor was angered and I think he made allegations to the University Management that I could not make a good doctor.
“She sent the claims to the Chairman of the Surgery Department who forwarded it to the Dean leading to my suspension,” he explained.
In 2018, he moved to court to detest the suspension and got an injunction from the court. After a series of hearings, the suspension was declared null and void, handing him a lifeline.
The success of the suit made him realise the importance of seeking legal redress in any matter which made him sue Nakuru County Government for back stemming from his suspension at the University.
“I sued the County Government and the case went on well and I was paid my two year salary. I had sought damages for suffering caused but the court declined to allow my prayer,” he added.
Dr Gikenyi confirmed that he pursues the legal cases as a side hustle due to his love for a just society and gets no returns from the endeavor.
Instead, he uses his salary as a surgeon under the Nakuru County Government and profits from other businesses he runs to finance it.
Among the cases he has handled include the Ministry of Education’s decision to close schools for a year during the pandemic arguing that resources would be lost.
Later, he unsuccessfully tried to bar the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) from sacking its employees and sued former President Uhuru Kenyatta in an attempt to compel him to swear in the six judges he had rejected.
Due to his consistency in pursuing cases, in most cases against the high and mighty, many Kenyans liken him to the works of the Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah.
The surgeon, however, confirmed that he was yet to meet the new Senator and politics were still in his back banner.
“For now, I don’t want to join politics, I think surgery is enough. Things might change in future but as we talk, I am interested in doing surgery and ensuring that law and order is maintained,” he explained.
His rise to the top, however, has not been an easy one stemming from a polygamous family of 16 children. His father was a primary school teacher while the mother was just a peasant.
Growing up, Magare and his friends had to deal with the problem of jigger infestations.
“There were lots of challenges when we were growing up, even sleeping on a mattress was a big problem. We suffered a lot and people used to laugh at us while we went to fetch water at a spring. They described us as jigger infested kids,” he added
He has worked at Thika Level Five Hospital, Nakuru Rift Valley General Hospital and Molo Sub-County hospital among other leading hospitals.
Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah at the Supreme Court